I’ve enjoyed working all of my life. From my first job filling potholes on the streets of San Jose to joining the Army at 17, and then a long career in credit union marketing, I always got great satisfaction out of work.

I reveled in the pride of doing a job well and earning my pay. Before I became unemployed, I figured I had worked an average of 49 weeks a year for 26 years in a row, and I looked forward to the challenges and rewards of going to work each day.

I never thought I had much of an ego, so I was surprised how much my ego hurt when I lost my job.

Though I miss a lot of things about work, one of the things I miss the most is the routine that work gives you each day. I always prepped by getting ready the night before. I drove the same way each day—going in early to avoid the traffic. Once at work, going through the morning routines of quick social interaction with my teammates was always a joy.

I also miss making important decisions—and being looked upon as a decision-maker and leader within the company. I had established myself because of experience, knowledge and earned credibility that allowed me to build trust with my teammates. It was also great to lead a small team in my department to complete the projects we were tasked to do.

(Courtesy of Daniel Joyce)

I miss mentoring and training my fellow employees. I always felt it was important for those in positions of seniority to prepare and mentor the next generation of credit union leaders. I would answer their questions, give advice, and provide guidance. I helped them get the equipment and training they needed to move up. The final tally: I sent a dozen of my proteges to other credit unions around the country where they made their mark.

But the thing I probably miss most about work is being on a team and making daily contributions. I enjoyed doing everything I could to help move us forward and to reach our goals. It didn’t matter how small or large the challenge was, I wanted to do it, and do it well. I miss the hundreds of co-workers I’ve worked with over the years, and I’m saddened to think I’ll never see many of them again.

Daniel Joyce, a 54-year-old former financial marketer from San Jose, Calif., has been unemployed for three years. Read more about him here. Read about the “Help Wanted” project here. Visit the project home page here.